More on the Murphy allegations of speech-basedplacementonno-fly
list, and on reactions to questio
COYLE at law.edu
Wed Apr 11 11:11:07 PDT 2007
Prof. Laycock's response is very sensible -- incompetence more likely than malice.
In response to those who asked, my experience seemed trivial and a minor inconvenience, being pulled out of line after an ID check and searched courteously and quickly. Since it appeared to be triggered by my ID, and having been pulled out before, I did wonder a bit if I had an unlucky name, but thought nothing more of it until reminded by Prof. Murphy's account. None of us were in his shoes, but I don't view my experience as evidence of any inappropriate action or policy. But when fallible humans are placed in positions involving security, secrecy and discretion, issues are bound to arise, and I wouldn't lightly dismiss concerns of critics.
As to books triggering police suspicion, I did once have a gun leveled at me by a university police officer while holding a book in a library, who order me to "Put that book down!." I don't recall the title.
From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu on behalf of Douglas Laycock
Sent: Wed 4/11/2007 1:05 PM
To: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: RE: More on the Murphy allegations of speech-basedplacementonno-fly list, and on reactions to questio
I am quite prepared to think ill of the Bush Administration, but I think there is just not much here in the Murphy incident. It all depends on the casual remark of the airline agent, who is not likely to know anything, and if the agent's statement were accurate, we should have heard of more examples before this one. The defenders of the Administration are winning this argument on the merits. And if there were anything objectionable going on, incompetence is far more likely than malice.
Quoting "Volokh, Eugene" <VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu>:
> I realize that sometimes, "you had to be there," in the sense
> that the case rests on the witness's account of facts that he observed.
> But as I understand it, the contested question is whether Prof.
> Murphy was added to some occasionally-screen list somewhere in some
> FBI/TSA/etc. back office. Neither Prof. Murphy nor we were there.
> Another question is whether Prof. Murphy's name popped up on a TSA
> computer with some special "we've had him under suspicion" flag (on the
> first leg of the flight, not the second) -- even if that ever happens, I
> take it Prof. Murphy wasn't there to look at that computer screen.
> Prof. Murphy was there to talk to the airport (or was it TSA?)
> employee, and to hear the employee's assertion that speaking at antiwar
> events would get one placed on the occasionally-screen list. But I
> don't doubt Prof. Murphy's testimony about what he heard; I am simply
> not sure why we should think the employee was speaking accurately. So
> I'm not sure why being there would tell us much (except that it might
> rule out the possibility that the employee was simply joking, unless he
> was joking in a very deadpan way). What am I missing here?
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
>> [mailto:conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Mark Graber
>> Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 8:59 AM
>> To: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
>> Subject: RE: More on the Murphy allegations of speech-based
>> placementonno-fly list, and on reactions to questio
>> A few small points on this and other points.
>> 1. To some extent, this is an instance of "you had to be
>> there." So a good deal of the concern is that, at least in
>> my opinion, this is a person with very good judgment who is
>> not likely to fly off the handle.
>> I think the story plays out somewhat differently with a
>> different person.
>> 2. My sense is that there is something fishy going on that
>> is not entirely innocent, but that the fishiness is
>> consistent with a number of concerns between pure randomness
>> and being on the no-fly list.
>> To post, send message to Conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu To
>> subscribe, unsubscribe, change options, or get password, see
>> Please note that messages sent to this large list cannot be
>> viewed as private. Anyone can subscribe to the list and read
>> messages that are posted; people can read the Web archives;
>> and list members can (rightly or wrongly) forward the
>> messages to others.
> To post, send message to Conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
> To subscribe, unsubscribe, change options, or get password, see
> Please note that messages sent to this large list cannot be viewed as
> private. Anyone can subscribe to the list and read messages that are
> posted; people can read the Web archives; and list members can
> (rightly or wrongly) forward the messages to others.
Yale Kamisar Collegiate Professor of Law
University of Michigan Law School
625 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
More information about the Conlawprof